Michael Masterson copywriting course (AIWA)- anyone has any experience on it?

61 replies
I came across this site Can You Write a Letter Like This One? and was wondering if any of you have bought the course and gone through it, and what you thought about it. Good investment, or bad investment, good/bad reputation, good/bad learning tool, etc.

Thanks
#aiwa #copywriting #experience #masterson #michael
  • Profile picture of the author abugah
    If you went to www.awaionline.com and looked at the board members, you will realize that all are 'successful' copywriters or entrepreneurs. Their endorsement of this course, that has been around for more than a decade, could tell you that it is value for money.

    Whether the course is good or bad will depend on individual preferences and expectations. However, if you want to start a career in copywriting, it is certainly a good starting point.

    Perhaps you may consider the online edition. Take a preview and if you find it wanting, ask for a refund before the expiry of the guarantee.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    The AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting is a solid and relatively comprehensive introduction to copywriting.

    It is what you make of it, but if you have the persistence and dedication to complete the course, that says something about you as a copywriter. Completing it will open some doors for you, as it provides a known baseline of your skillset.

    Many of today's professional copywriters got their start with this course. One advantage is that it provides a broad overview of the industry's many possible products (with exercises), as opposed to the scattered snippets one might find by self-education on the web. This allows you to become familiar with a wide range of products, and perhaps find areas that you really like working with.

    Overall, by most accounts the program is a solid investment, if one is willing to put in the time to learn the lessons therein.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Originally Posted by racso316 View Post

    I came across this site Can You Write a Letter Like This One? and was wondering if any of you have bought the course and gone through it, and what you thought about it. Good investment, or bad investment, good/bad reputation, good/bad learning tool, etc.

    Thanks
    Strictly speaking from a personal viewpoint...

    I don't think it's that great...it's a fluff course in the basics.

    My recommendation is that you find a mentor and work with them...you get one-on-one experience.

    I think McLeod, Strong, Montello, Humphreys, Raydal, Arfa, Walker, Copy Nazi, and others offer mentoring (didn't mean to leave anyone out, check the posts).

    It's best if you can work with someone while learning...you get a whole lot more out of it.
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    • Profile picture of the author jimmymc
      This is a very solid course. You get a lot of reference material as well as personal mentoring. I completed the course over ten years ago and still refer to the documentation on a regular basis. Some say it's dated, but I don't agree... copywriting is copywriting then or now.

      The trend toward trashy graphics won't stand against solid copywriting... on second thought, I might be wrong because I forget a lot people can't read nowadays!
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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by jimmymc View Post

        This is a very solid course. You get a lot of reference material as well as personal mentoring. I completed the course over ten years ago and still refer to the documentation on a regular basis. Some say it's dated, but I don't agree... copywriting is copywriting then or now.

        The trend toward trashy graphics won't stand against solid copywriting... on second thought, I might be wrong because I forget a lot people can't read nowadays!
        I see you've been on here since 05.

        Guess you're a millionaire by now.

        Haven't known any good copywriter who wasn't crazy wealthy after 10 years.

        I still say...you're better off to work with a mentor.

        Depending on your personality...

        You'll find someone who'll work one-on-one with you.
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        • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
          I think the AWAI course is absolutely awesome for unleashing the initial ambitions of an aspiring copywriter. It gets my vote.

          If there is one weak point, it is their execution of the coaching of the assignments.

          I also believe having a competent mentor is EXTREMELY valuable ONCE you've hit a plateau in your learning and execution.

          - Rick Duris
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        • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post


          I still say...you're better off to work with a mentor.

          Depending on your personality...

          You'll find someone who'll work one-on-one with you.
          Sure...but let's be realistic. No successful mentor is going to have the time or inclination to work with complete newbies that don't understand at least the basics of copywriting.

          That's where courses like this come in. It's a strong introduction to a wide range of copywriting skills and niches, with detailed analysis of over 50 successful ads.

          By the time anybody gets done with it, they'll know a heck of a lot more about copywriting than they did when starting out, and will have written some good examples as well.

          Perhaps at that point, a good mentor might start to be interested.
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        • Profile picture of the author abugah
          Perhaps this should act as motivator for newbies who often want to know if there is good money in copywriting.



          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

          I see you've been on here since 05.

          Guess you're a millionaire by now.

          Haven't known any good copywriter who wasn't crazy wealthy after 10 years.

          I still say...you're better off to work with a mentor.

          Depending on your personality...

          You'll find someone who'll work one-on-one with you.
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  • Profile picture of the author ina696
    I echo what Max5ty and Harlan say. I purchased the course many years ago. Once you get on their mailing list, you're beseiged with their other "course" offerings in different topic area.

    Very aggressive marketing.

    There are some AWAI followers who have cult-like allegiance to them, but I personally didn't find the course anything extraordinary.

    Ina
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
    Hi,

    I don't own it but the feedback I've heard from other copywriters who do own it has been mostly negative.

    Mentoring is a great way to learn strong copywriting skills.

    If cash is an issue, then I'd suggest taking the $500 the AWAI course costs and buy a bunch of the Recommended Copywriting Books (sticky thread in this forum) instead. It will take you longer to read multiple copywriting books and start applying them but that's the tradeoff when you're working with limited funds.

    If funds aren't an issue, I'd head to Clayton Makepeace's site and contact him. Clayton retired last year and closed his info-product business as well.

    I'd still suggest asking if he has any copies of his Quick Start Copywriting System that remaining and buy it. Hands-down, it's the most comprehensive and best copywriting course or book I've ever read... and I'm saying that after having studying 40+ copywriting books, courses, and videos.

    I know a number of people who really like John Carlton's "Simple Writing System" but I thought his "Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel" course was a lot better.

    Checking John's site, it looks like you can get an **awesome** deal on the Kick-Ass course ($99) right now. Here's a non-affiliate link to John's Kick-Ass course:

    John Carlton - Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets | Marketing Rebel

    One last point.

    The one thing I really like about studying multiple sources is each one has a different teaching style or way of explaining things. The way one author explains something like bullets might sound okay to you but then you read someone else and WHAM! It really connects with you and you GOT it.

    Hope that helps,

    Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author racso316
      Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

      Hi,

      I don't own it but the feedback I've heard from other copywriters who do own it has been mostly negative.

      Mentoring is a great way to learn strong copywriting skills.

      If cash is an issue, then I'd suggest taking the $500 the AWAI course costs and buy a bunch of the Recommended Copywriting Books (sticky thread in this forum) instead. It will take you longer to read multiple copywriting books and start applying them but that's the tradeoff when you're working with limited funds.

      If funds aren't an issue, I'd head to Clayton Makepeace's site and contact him. Clayton retired last year and closed his info-product business as well.

      I'd still suggest asking if he has any copies of his Quick Start Copywriting System that remaining and buy it. Hands-down, it's the most comprehensive and best copywriting course or book I've ever read... and I'm saying that after having studying 40+ copywriting books, courses, and videos.

      I know a number of people who really like John Carlton's "Simple Writing System" but I thought his "Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel" course was a lot better.

      Checking John's site, it looks like you can get an **awesome** deal on the Kick-Ass course ($99) right now. Here's a non-affiliate link to John's Kick-Ass course:

      John Carlton - Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets | Marketing Rebel

      One last point.

      The one thing I really like about studying multiple sources is each one has a different teaching style or way of explaining things. The way one author explains something like bullets might sound okay to you but then you read someone else and WHAM! It really connects with you and you GOT it.

      Hope that helps,

      Mike
      Thanks Mike for pointing me at the John Carlton's site. I went over his "KickAss Copywriting" course sales letter and sounds like a good deal. Even better, I went over his "Freelance Copywriter" course and it's the Kick-Ass course plus more info and products on how to implement that knowledge and get clients. It's off the market right now so that sucks.
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      • Profile picture of the author CarlsbadCami
        Originally Posted by racso316 View Post

        Thanks Mike for pointing me at the John Carlton's site. I went over his "KickAss Copywriting" course sales letter and sounds like a good deal. Even better, I went over his "Freelance Copywriter" course and it's the Kick-Ass course plus more info and products on how to implement that knowledge and get clients. It's off the market right now so that sucks.
        I know this was posted back in February but I just wanted to give a quick update. I was able to order John Carlton's Freelance Copywriter course about 5 minutes ago, so it is back on the market!
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    • Profile picture of the author smokey58
      Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

      Hi,

      I don't own it but the feedback I've heard from other copywriters who do own it has been mostly negative.

      Mentoring is a great way to learn strong copywriting skills.

      If cash is an issue, then I'd suggest taking the $500 the AWAI course costs and buy a bunch of the Recommended Copywriting Books (sticky thread in this forum) instead. It will take you longer to read multiple copywriting books and start applying them but that's the tradeoff when you're working with limited funds.

      If funds aren't an issue, I'd head to Clayton Makepeace's site and contact him. Clayton retired last year and closed his info-product business as well.


      I'd still suggest asking if he has any copies of his Quick Start Copywriting System that remaining and buy it. Hands-down, it's the most comprehensive and best copywriting course or book I've ever read... and I'm saying that after having studying 40+ copywriting books, courses, and videos.

      I know a number of people who really like John Carlton's "Simple Writing System" but I thought his "Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel" course was a lot better.

      Checking John's site, it looks like you can get an **awesome** deal on the Kick-Ass course ($99) right now. Here's a non-affiliate link to John's Kick-Ass course:

      John Carlton - Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets | Marketing Rebel

      One last point.

      The one thing I really like about studying multiple sources is each one has a different teaching style or way of explaining things. The way one author explains something like bullets might sound okay to you but then you read someone else and WHAM! It really connects with you and you GOT it.

      Hope that helps,

      Mike

      There is another alternative. If you go to the Late Gary Halbert's website, www.garyhalbert.com

      Gary's son is selling a limited number of Clayton Makepeace's copywriting course. However, it is not cheap...but they are original.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    $500 does buy a lot of books, so the AWAI copywriting course is just another choice. Some people get something out of it, some don't, but it's a risk-free test drive to try it and see. It's been around a long time and updated, so it must have something going for it.

    You won't be able to immediately retire to the beach and make hundreds of thousands of dollars while scrunching golden sand between your squirmy little toes, but it's a step in the right direction.
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  • I've taken and completed the course and one other course. Solid information. Stick with it. There is A LOT to learn from it. I recommend it. AWAI is tops in my book.
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  • Profile picture of the author racso316
    Thanks for all the feedback guys. I really appreciate it. Seems like 50% are for AIWA and 50% are against. Harlan's link on it being a 'scam' is interesting.

    On getting a mentor, like RickDuris and Max proposed, I wish I had the money. I'm pretty sure it's really expensive and I'm not at that stage yet. I'm a beginner and just started studying the art. Although hopefully once I'm fluent at it, I will definitely seek a coach.

    I saw the course on ebay for a fraction of the price so I might take the risk and buy it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pecan
    AWAI must have been different 10 years ago. It's not a "joke" like Harlan says and I've never sufferred "very aggressive marketing" from them. At least not compared to the IM lists I'm on after buying WSO's.

    It is, however, a pretty big course and an easy one to not follow through with.

    Jason Fladlien has a course that's real thorough on all aspects of copywriting. It's faster paced and will definately keep your interest longer. It's called "Stopwatch Copywriting". I don't have enough posts to leave a link to it, but it's easy to find.
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    • Profile picture of the author videolover7
      Originally Posted by Pecan View Post

      Jason Fladlien has a course that's real thorough on all aspects of copywriting. It's faster paced and will definately keep your interest longer. It's called "Stopwatch Copywriting". I don't have enough posts to leave a link to it, but it's easy to find.
      Here it is, $37...

      Stopwatch Copywriting (not an affiliate link)

      VL
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  • Profile picture of the author racso316
    Thanks guys, I do have Jason's product and it's off the hook
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  • Profile picture of the author weebeastie
    I've taken all the above mentioned courses for copywriting and they all have good qualities. At the end of the day if you've got a project that you want to throw a letter together. "The Ultimate Sales Letter" by Dan S Kennedy will take you through the process and you'll not be so light in the pocket.
    It's a book not a course good starting point and you won't get bogged down with info overload.
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  • Profile picture of the author Keeslover
    I put my copy up for sale here a couple of months ago, and no one took it. Let me know if you want it, and we can talk.

    Mel
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    • Profile picture of the author primoquest
      It was some time ago, but I remember making it to the third AWAI lesson before I gave up on it... it bored me to tears.

      It (the course) moved way too slow and I got tons more information going to the library and reading books written by the masters. I believe back then, AWAI was a mail-in course only. I'm pretty sure they didn't have it as an online course.

      Many of us that used to hang out on Fortin's copywriting forums talked about this course a lot. Some of us thought it sucked and others thought it was great. I suspect some were just justifying their purchase by talking well of it.

      If you talk to Harlan... well, you already know how he feels about it, but if you talk to Ryan Healy, he used to rave about how it helped launch his career.

      The promises about becoming self-reliant (and set free financially) was what inspired me to get into writing copy. I can tell you that it's not as easy as they make it out to be... at least it wasn't for me.

      As a hobby it was exciting... Once it became a (job) for me, it lost much of its magic sparkle.

      If you don't absolutely love (and I mean LOVE in a big way) reading and writing, day in and day out... you aren't gonna make it as a full-timer.

      The emotionally-charged message of being self-employed and financially independent will never be strong enough in order for you to make it because it can be long, tiresome "work". If you don't absolutely love it, you will fail.

      So, essentially, the copy that makes the big promise of never having to work hard again is contrary to what is written in the copy. a bunch of B.S., IMHO.

      Go read the copy again and see how it pushes your emotional buttons. It's pretty damn tempting isn't it?

      Folks like the "Doc", Healy, and Montello make it look easy, but they all have their own specific reasons for their successes.

      Harlan's background in hypnotic persuasion and psychology are what makes him so good... It certainly doesn't hurt.

      And Vin, having been a comedian and story teller in Hollywood for over a decade is what makes him so damn good. Vin is also a fantastic negotiator and has a fantastic self-image...

      In fact, each person I've met who do extremely well in copywriting have great self-esteem and a powerful, positive self-image.

      Sure, if you read AWAI's copy, it's very emotionally charged and they are targeting dreamers. If you are a big dreamer, then you "will" fall prey to the copy on AWAI's sales letter much in the same way "The Lazy Way To Riches" copy will also.

      If you are absolutely certain you want to become a copy writer, my suggestion is save your money and study the masters. Once you get down the basics and can afford it, hook up with a proven mentor. Heck, even Harlan and Vin had mentors at one time.

      And some advice for those who wish to become successful IMers... study copy writing enough to become familiar with the basics. Once you have it down, go out and hire a pro and get on with all your other stuff.

      Of course, everything I've written here are just my personal opinions I have formed from spending waaay too much time learning and writing copy.
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    • Profile picture of the author schttrj
      Originally Posted by Keeslover View Post

      I put my copy up for sale here a couple of months ago, and no one took it. Let me know if you want it, and we can talk.

      Mel
      Is that the best ad you could crank out for your book, Mel?
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    You are right, the AWAI copywriting course was originally a mail-in course. It has been around for a while; I think it was started around 1996 or 1997.

    Personally speaking, the course gave me a solid foundation presented in a structured manner to start with, and made it much easier to study the masters later on.

    There is one thing about the AWAI course that sets it apart. As a structured course from an established business, it attracts many people from business that need to use copywriting in their day-to-day jobs. They may be full-time copywriters, but they are working inside other companies.

    Others really are living their dream. Take travel copywriters with a sideline in photography, for example. It's not traditional copywriting per se, but many make enough money to travel the world and go where they want. While some are article writers, others are really copywriters, as in travel writing to encourage foreign property investments.

    The internet has opened up many new opportunities as well. One AWAI member loves animals, for example, and has built a successful online business around animal-related copywriting. She apparently loves the niche she has created for herself.

    I have heard it said time and time again - to truly enjoy copywriting, one needs to pick a niche one has passion for. Ideally, the job becomes one where someone says "I can't believe they pay me to do this" or "I'm enjoying this so much I can't believe I'm making a living doing it."

    You're right in saying that sales letter is aimed at dreamers, and probably the majority of people that start the course never become copywriters. Anything that sounds too good to be true usually is.

    But for some people, it sets in motion the steps to throw off the chains of their oppressive 8-5 drudgery jobs, and they'll get to spend a little more time with the family, have a little extra spending money, whatever makes them a little happier.

    Most will never be masters of copywriting making oodles of money while writing multi-million-dollar controls from the beach, but they don't need to be, they just need to be good enough to reach their own goals. If they don't like it, they can always go back to their boring corporate jobs...but once they've tasted the freedom, that's hard to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    I think it depends on how far along you are in your development. I got a copy of it about 2 years ago, wasn't that impressed. Then again, at that point I'd been copywriting already for a long time and most of it was stuff I'd heard before. I imagine if I'd picked it up ten years earlier, my response would have been much different.
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    • Profile picture of the author videolover7
      This "undercover" video sheds no light on the question whatsoever.

      But it's fund to watch. LOL

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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
      Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

      I think it depends on how far along you are in your development. I got a copy of it about 2 years ago, wasn't that impressed. Then again, at that point I'd been copywriting already for a long time and most of it was stuff I'd heard before. I imagine if I'd picked it up ten years earlier, my response would have been much different.
      Agreed. It's just one way to help people see the big picture from A to Z and learn the basic structures needed for copywriting. As Mogul says, there's lots of other ways too.

      For many people, the linear progression and practice through a set course of study is helpful, regardless of who created it.

      This can be especially true in something like copywriting when the "best way" is subjective and every reference has a different approach. Skipping around without a working foundation in place can be confusing.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Look, if you want the real deal - John Carlton's stuff is the best. At least join his Marketing Rebel Membership Club - it's like $59 ($1 to try) watch the videos and listen to tapes there.

    From what I've heard you're better off reading everything on thegaryhalbertletter.com and the get all you can from John Carlton, Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert and Eben Pagan. You'll have more than enough ammo to succeed.

    I have looked through some of the AWAI stuff - the biggest problem is that they can't tell you the whole truth because they need to stay politically correct. So what you get is watered down reality.
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    • Profile picture of the author abugah
      Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post


      I have looked through some of the AWAI stuff - the biggest problem is that they can't tell you the whole truth because they need to stay politically correct. So what you get is watered down reality.
      That's an interesting perspective. I didn't know in an internet business there is political correctness also. Seriously.
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    • Profile picture of the author Excel Fields
      Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

      Look, if you want the real deal - John Carlton's stuff is the best. At least join his Marketing Rebel Membership Club - it's like $59 ($1 to try) watch the videos and listen to tapes there.

      From what I've heard you're better off reading everything on thegaryhalbertletter.com and the get all you can from John Carlton, Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert and Eben Pagan. You'll have more than enough ammo to succeed.

      I have looked through some of the AWAI stuff - the biggest problem is that they can't tell you the whole truth because they need to stay politically correct. So what you get is watered down reality.
      Eben doesn't teach Copywriting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Prouddad
    If you take the AWAI course and have no other resources, it's OK (not great, just OK). But if you compare the AWAI course to other copywriting classes, it falters. It's not in the same league as John Carlton's SWS. Not THAT'S a real course!
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Ausin
    I haven't seen that course, but it is aimed at complete beginners, right?

    That is my big problem with it.

    There is nothing easier than putting together a fluffed up "course" for beginners and sell it at a premium, while there are dozens of books that cost less than $20 and contain much more information, and often are written by someone who actually knows a thing or two about copy.

    If someone new wants to learn copywriting.. Write copy, read copy, read books, repeat.

    Then, when you have the basics down, you could approach a mentor - and actually stand a chance of getting mentored.
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  • Profile picture of the author racso316
    I actually got their email for Clayton's product. I'm definitely thinking about it but I have to pass due to the price. I actually went and got John Carlton's Freelance Copywriter course which includes KickAss Copywriting so I'm pretty excited about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    I love John Carlton's style and approach but have never tried his course. I did however have one of my newsletter subscribers tell me that the exercises were very niche and demographic specific and that she was frustrated that she wasn't getting more instruction about specific psychology of sales writing.

    That's my main beef with a lot of the copywriting training out there. Too vague, telling you what to do and why it works but not enough step by step specifics on HOW to do it: “write with emotion, get their attention, appeal to their vanity, write like you talk.“ It's like a lot of experienced copywriters are poor teachers becauseof their experience. They know the stuff so well they forgot the steps it took to get there.

    It takes more than just good copywriting skills to put together a good course, for both newbies and advanced writers.
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  • Profile picture of the author alfid
    Looks very interesting and complete. I also join the request, if anyone can contribute with more experiences it would be fantastic.
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    • Profile picture of the author Prouddad
      If there were no other copywriting courses, I'd say that the AIWA course is excellent. There's some good stuff in it and it's thorough.

      But if you compare it side-by-side with John Carlton's or Clayton Makepeace's courses, it doesn't look nearly as good. The AIWA course is a fine beginning course. But I personally like John Carlton's "Kick-Ass" Course better.

      If you want to get to the next level in copywriting, get John Carlton's SWS (Simple Writing System) course and/or Clayton Makepeace's Quick-Start Copywriting System. They are both marvelous classes.
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      • Profile picture of the author Vrs
        In my mind AWAI is waaay overpriced. I bought it and then bought the upsell (whoever wrote their course salesletter sure was good). Afterwards I found a lot greater value for much less money. Yanik Silver is one example - at least before he started being mentored by Dan Kennedy.

        I agree about Clayton Makepeaces's material. Really good quality and excellent value. John Carlton is a little too crass for me.

        I also agree with whoever it was who said the AWAI material is dated. It's like preparing for pre-internet.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradCarroll
    The AWAI course was my intro to sales writing. It'll definitely teach you more than the same money spent on college courses, but if I had it to do over again, I'd spend the money on the books that Gary Halbert recommends here:

    The Gary Halbert Letter

    Add Dan Kennedy's Ultimate Sales Letter to that and you're well on your way.

    That book has more useful information than the AWAI course in it, and it costs less than 5% what the AWAI course costs!

    You can also find The Robert Collier Letter Book at your local BN store (or have them order it for you); once I read that book, I could see more "moving parts" in sales copy that used to seem "slick & glassy" to me (i.e. I could see how the sales letters were done after reading it, instead of thinking, "Oh wow this guy's slick, his sales writing's great but I have no idea how he's doing it."). It's not as explicit as the Dan Kennedy book but in some ways it will teach you more.

    The AWAI course does teach you the basics, but for the same money, you can find a much better education. It -is- a good way to learn how to market to would-be copywriters and the work-at-home crowd. As someone here said, they will market to you very aggressively--you'll get lots of direct mail from AWAI for a long time to come. It's a smart process that you can learn from. There are also lots of "Aren't you glad you bought this?" and "Let us encourage you," moments in the AWAI course. You can learn from that, too. But for $400 or $500, you can learn more via other materials.
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  • Profile picture of the author BradCarroll
    The AWAI course was my intro to sales writing. It'll definitely teach you more than the same money spent on college courses, but if I had it to do over again, I'd spend the money on the books that Gary Halbert recommends here:

    The Gary Halbert Letter

    Add Dan Kennedy's Ultimate Sales Letter to that and you're well on your way.

    That book has more useful information than the AWAI course in it, and it costs less than 5% what the AWAI course costs!

    You can also find The Robert Collier Letter Book at your local BN store (or have them order it for you); once I read that book, I could see more "moving parts" in sales copy that used to seem "slick & glassy" to me (i.e. I could see how the sales letters were done after reading it, instead of thinking, "Oh wow this guy's slick, his sales writing's great but I have no idea how he's doing it."). It's not as explicit as the Dan Kennedy book but in some ways it will teach you more.

    The AWAI course does teach you the basics, but for the same money, you can find a much better education. It -is- a good way to learn how to market to would-be copywriters and the work-at-home crowd. As someone here said, they will market to you very aggressively--you'll get lots of direct mail from AWAI for a long time to come. It's a smart process that you can learn from. There are also lots of "Aren't you glad you bought this?" and "Let us encourage you," moments in the AWAI course. You can learn from that, too. But for $400 or $500, you can learn more via other materials.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jomuli3
    The AWAI course teaches the basics. It concentrates on writing a direct mail package. I know there are advert samples in one textbook, but that is not all what copywriting is about.It must embrace all "forms of writing that offers a product or service for sale."

    It indicates that making money, lots of money is easy! It is not when you are new. A few of the masters who offer their private coaching charge very high fees --- almost doubling the amount one paid when he did the actual course.

    The waste part of it is that it leaves its graduates without seriously coaching them on how to get the clients. On one's own a new graduate could spend years without making money. One on one is the best way to do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    Originally Posted by racso316 View Post

    I came across this site Can You Write a Letter Like This One? and was wondering if any of you have bought the course and gone through it, and what you thought about it. Good investment, or bad investment, good/bad reputation, good/bad learning tool, etc.

    Thanks
    racso316,

    I'm going to take a slightly different approach and hopefully, in answering your query, you'll get some solid food for thought, OK?

    Let me call this, BEFORE YOU BUY ANYTHING...

    It has been my experience that too many people, especially those who have been fired up on copywriting as a Biz-Op tend to put the cart before the horse.

    Square One, is to answer the question: What do you want?

    Because the answer to the question will lead you, almost magically, to the right information, education and mentor.

    See, some people want to learn copywriting so they can build a business, in other words they are Entrepreneurs and businessmen and they feel learning how to write copy will help them build their business.

    I'd venture that MOST who visit here, and have an interest in copywriting are first, good writers. They have a command of the language, have written most of their lives, and they THINK they can transition to copywriting and earn their ez six figures a year...

    AND there are some who do. Especially those who have written in the dramatic arts and have a grasp of storytelling structure.

    HOWEVER, one of the things which is overlooked by many is this:

    All those MASTERS and greats believed and were taught that copywriting is actually SALESMANSHIP IN PRINT. In the Halbert newsletter referred to above

    The Gary Halbert Letter

    You'll see some very specific books and people to learn from and even what not to do and what not to read...

    I'd refer almost all new wannabee copywriter's to this newsletter.

    Gary calls Claude Hopkins "the greatest ad man who ever lived".

    In Chapter 2, "Just Salesmanship", in his book, Scientific Advertising, Claude Hopkins writes this:

    "Advertising is salesmanship. Its principles are the principles of salesmanship. Successes and failures in both lines are due to like causes. Thus every advertising question should be answered by the salesman's standards. IT IS PROFITABLE OR UNPROFITABLE ACCORDING TO ITS ACTUAL SALES."

    Read and study the masters, and you'll find almost all of them were schooled in salesmanship, usually the door to door or cold calling or face to face kind. The HARD kind to do.

    In presenting copywriting as a biz-op, the hype and hyperbole comes in, the old...

    quick, easy, fast appeals...
    if you can write you can write copy...
    make lots of dough sitting in your underwear knocking out some copy

    in other words, all the standard BIZ-OP appeals you might find in Entrepreneur Magazine or Money Making Opportunites...

    Even the IM guru, with their 2,000 dollar launches make it sound EASY, in fact, most hit you over the head with how LITTLE work it takes (irony in some email that tells you to get off my list if you don't want to work your Azz off, cause they're on the list because they were TOLD how ez it was...hmmmm)...

    So, some study, and even better some time spent SELLING face to face, is one way you can expedite your copywriting.

    Salesmanship studies should accompany your copy studies. But, that is the exact reason why so many good WRITERS want to write copy, cause they can't stand the thought of selling something face to face, and thus, they come to the field unprepared, thinking it is WRITING.

    But back to Square ONE, and my apologies, this could be two part post, because I have a lot to cover.

    Let me state, I've been to Del Ray, reviewed all of the AWAI courses...and they aren't good or bad...it has to do with your point of entry...

    In most cases you become loyal to your first love, or infatuation...so if your first encounter to copywriting as a biz-op is Gary Halbert, you stay loyal to Sir Gary.

    Likewise if your first blush is with Dan Kennedy or Jay Abraham, or Clayton or Bencivenga...you'll have a tendency to be consistent...

    Commitment and Consistency as R. Cialdini would explain it.

    AND, if your first encounter is followed by a substantial investment, then your LOYALTY to that person is over the moon. Which is why we see some people so high on AWAI... and others not so hot on it.

    I would discount any opinion by ANYONE who has been on the AWAI board or a part of the group who no longer is...there could be a lot of sour grapes there...

    But, the question...What do YOU want?

    Can you write a three sentence paragraph telling what you want, followed by an exact figure you'd like to earn, and how you think this will happen?

    I've read all their materials. I don't have a positive opinion, but, I don't have a negative one big enough to tell you NO. I don't know you. And what you want. I do think workshops, with this type of job fair could be extremely valuable to anyone who is going to NETWORK and make connections. IF you know what you want to do.

    I want to talk about Entrepreneurs vs Copywriters to help give you further understanding and may help you make a choice as how to spend your money.

    Even if you have unlimited funds, you should carefully choose the material and don't buy everything. Before You Buy Anything...clarify your goal, know what you want...

    And this will help you to make decisions on what to buy, what to study, who to follow, etc. More on this in the Part Two Post, OK?

    gjabiz
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    • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
      I met Gary Halbert in the late sixties, we had a mutual friend and I also met him several times when he was working with Ben Suarez (actually Ben was working for Gary at the time). Gary introduced me to Ben and sometime later Ben recruited me to work for his company, in some part due to Gary's recommendation.

      At the time Gary had built a huge company and was fast becoming an Akron, OH man to take notice of...his FAT Man radio ad (one of the biggest bombs of his career) had the city in stitches.

      Anyhow, Gary knew and understood himself enough to know he didn't want to run a business. He was NOT an Entrepreneur. He hated the idea of managing people and taking care of the daily mundane a business requires. So he sold his shares in his company off and pocketed a boatload of cash.

      Gary was a writer. A COPYWRITER. And a salesman. He had actually sold encyclopaedias door to door. In fact, he insisted Ben Suarez do the same thing...because Ben was a scientist and HATED the idea of selling...

      But he did it, otherwise, Halbert wouldn't work with him.

      I want to use these two successful men to make my point.

      Halbert was a great copywriter. Sold millions of dollars worth of products.

      He also had a roller coaster ride, and he'd be the first to tell you he didn't want it any other way.

      He was, without a doubt, one of the all time greats at his craft.

      Gary got Ben Suarez on the right path with copywriting and direct response marketing.

      Since their 1972 meeting, Ben has built several companies, the largest being Suarez Corporation Industries, which does 300 million a year and has several divisions.

      That is 40 years of continuous success and BILLIONS of dollars of products sold.

      At his company Ben has a "secret" room, it is called SEED WORLD. This room contains every promotion, full page ad, direct mail piece, that not only Ben has used, but it also houses much of his competition.

      Ads from Dean F.V. DuVall, Melvin Powers, Gary Halbert (even his huge failures), Frank Cawood, Jim Straw, Joe Karbo, Joe Sugarman...every or almost every ad ran in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

      Quick aside, Ben and Gary went to LA together to attend seminars hosted by Harvey Brody, who is one of the all time great Entrepreneurs/Copywriters like Ben turned out to be.

      See, some guys are great writers and copywriters and don't want to mess around with having a big business headache.

      Some guys are like Ben Suarez with hundreds of employees and Billions in sales. Some guys are like Ted Nicholas, a good Entrepreneur and great copywriter...as was Bud Weckesser of Green Tree Press fame.

      Joe Karbo was good but preferred the creative. He told me once when I was a student in Huntington Beach and during one of our visits...he would just as soon be acting or sailing a boat as working.

      It all comes down to how you see your life unfolding.

      Do you just want to write? Do you want to work for companies with good royalty structures built in to your writing?

      Do you want to run a small one man business like Harvey Brody and make millions of dollars per year?

      How about a small boutique biz Bud Weckesser at Green Tree Press with about 10 employees?

      Want an SCI with 700 employees and doing 300-500 million a year?

      So, BEFORE YOU BUY ANYTHING give some serious thought to what you want to be doing in 5 years.

      Because if you can think about what you want, the long term goal, and how you are going to get there...that will help you to decide your course of studies and who you want to mentor you, OK?

      A final note, there may be a few...but there are very few...copywriters who have sold more products than Ben Suarez. He still writes and his copy has produced billions in sales over the years for thousands of different products.

      You'll see his book, 7 Steps to Freedom (II), on Sir Gary Halberts list of must read books. But it is a book for ENTREPRENEURS who want to build a big company.

      I like the 96 page Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, because with a background in sales, I was quickly able to get what copywriting is really all about.

      Hope this helps a little and I encourage you to follow your dreams, big or small...cause getting good at selling will help you achieve whatever dream you have.

      gjabiz
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
        Banned
        Bloody hell, I miss seeing you on this forum Gordon.

        Your head space, it's a treasure trove of information and in a nutshell, most of it is sheer brilliance in action.

        Warmest regards,


        Mark Andrews
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  • Profile picture of the author Mary Schiller
    I own this course -- bought it many years ago -- and I think it's a good introduction to copywriting. My life took a major U turn, so I'm just now getting back into copywriting and thinking of going through the course again. I do get annoyed with AWAI's aggressive marketing -- it's a turnoff.

    I highly recommend "Web Copy That Sells," by Maria Veloso. I think it's fantastic. (I skimmed this thread so if someone else mentioned it, I guess I'll second it!)
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Hoffman
    Since I have known AWAI a very long time I'm going to say a few words.

    Back when it came out, the AWAI course was groundbreaking. There were no direct mail copywriting courses. Outside of marketing stuff for entrepreneurs like Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, etc.

    However, since then, the great teachers all came out and did their own courses that went much, much deeper.

    The course is absolutely basic. However, mastering the fundamentals is a key to success. There is a lack of practical application though. In terms of exactly how to writing strong, emotionally compelling copy.

    You could probably learn more from observing their marketing machinery, than from the basics of the course. They are major league when it comes to marketing their courses and all the followup emails, etc. Just realize that they are marketing copywriting as a biz op. I think that's why many say it's a scam. However, I'm not aware of anything unethical or illegal ever being done by them.

    Get The Copywriters Handbook by Bob Bly. That covers the basics for $10.

    Some people are cult-like about them because like Dan Kennedy, they definitely foster the dependence and membership mentality a lot. They are also heavily geared toward the larger mainstream direct marketing companies. After all that's why they started supposedly...to get more good copywriters for the big direct marketing companies.

    What they leave out is telling people that only a handful of people out of the thousands who get the course, will ever have the determination and dedication to get good enough to get to that point.

    How many copywriters are making over $100,000 a year? AWAI trained or not.

    Not too many.
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    • Originally Posted by Ken Hoffman View Post


      How many copywriters are making over $100,000 a year? AWAI trained or not.

      Not too many.
      Probably true, but why? It seems to me a good copywriter in just about any niche could earn this amount after a few years if they put in the blood, sweat and tears.

      Heck, on just this board alone you can see guys and gals grow their fees significantly in 2 to 3 years (I spend too much time in the archives haha).

      Not everyone wants 100K USD or more. But from my chair it looks completely doable for lots of folks.
      Not to mention the dough they can make creating their own products. When you think about it 100K should be easy for an experienced copywriter assuming they want to make 6 figures or more.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ken Hoffman
        Originally Posted by Joe Ditzel View Post

        Probably true, but why? It seems to me a good copywriter in just about any niche could earn this amount after a few years if they put in the blood, sweat and tears.

        Heck, on just this board alone you can see guys and gals grow their fees significantly in 2 to 3 years (I spend too much time in the archives haha).

        Not everyone wants 100K USD or more. But from my chair it looks completely doable for lots of folks.
        Not to mention the dough they can make creating their own products. When you think about it 100K should be easy for an experienced copywriter assuming they want to make 6 figures or more.
        I think there's a lot of reasons. Laziness. Many copywriters aren't good at or don't like self promotion. Limiting beliefs about money. Lack of business management savvy. Lack of focus. Choosing to focus all their energy on learning more about copywriting, instead of getting out and getting clients more. Definitely doable though. But it seems like a small percentage get there, just like in many other professions where its doable, but many don't ever achieve it.
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  • Profile picture of the author james kirk
    Dan Kennedy, Bob Bly and Gary Halbert all have good stuff you can read without spending tons of moolah. Also, my favorite copy book is Cashvertising
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  • Profile picture of the author Chronic IM
    Hello! It works pretty well. I have researched about it and there were lots of positive reviews about it and a little negatives but it was very effective according to most reviews. i haven't came across with that personally but I'll try as soon as possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author saxgentleman67
    Banned
    Originally Posted by donnacub View Post

    This is a very solid course. You get a lot of reference material as well as personal mentoring. I completed the course over ten years ago and still refer to the documentation on a regular basis.
    It is solid, but as already mentioned there are much more thorough and more useful courses available today, that weren't available 10 years ago.

    A lot of personal mentoring? I don't think so. I mean I'm in their high-end courses and even there, there isn't a lot of mentoring. Some peer reviews which are useful, but I'm not aware of any extensive mentoring as part of the basic course.

    It's good as a basic primer, but not beyond that as far as completely developing your skills as a professional copywriter. The information is extremely basic. There masters course on the other hand goes much deeper, but the price tag is comparable with other courses that are again more thorough.
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  • Profile picture of the author eugenedm
    Copywriting is an art. I don't believe that anyone can be a great copywriter in just one day or a week. If you're new to copywriting, you can take a course just to help you with the basics. Once you know the basics then you can look for a mentor who can help you develop your copywriting skills.

    In the end it depends on the person. What works for some may not work for others. If you're the persistent type of person who does his own research then you don't need any course in copywriting. The point is you need to have several resources to be good at copywriting. Those resources can include online courses about copywriting, mentoring and your very own research.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Bowman
    Wow this is a wild ride of a thread. I purchased this through a IM Group I was a part of that probably was a majority of the AWAI group. I think the group was called the Highlanders.

    And that was because they were a group of Successful Marketers who wanted to give back. But unfortunately I moved an lost the information to stay in the group.

    It had the likes of Ted Nicholas, Jay Abraham, Michael Masterson and more. The course may have cost me $59 at the time. I also never got started on it. Now I am interested in trying it out and was coming here to see if anyone thought it was worth it. So now I am definitely going to finish the course to see what my thoughts are on it.

    I am surprised a group of top marketers with their reputations would put their names on the course if it was that bad. But this was about 10 years ago and the information may have been good at the time in their minds. :confused:
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  • I'm taking the course. I ordered it back in February after spending many months researching and thinking. My schedule has allowed for me to work at it only sporadically, but I have about 200 pages (of almost 600, I think) left. When I'm finished I'm going to write a review. Interestingly, when I was looking for reviews all I found were those written by bloggers who'd gotten the course for free. My review won't be as glowing, and I have nothing to compare it to, but I do think the course is a decent starting point.
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